Skip to Main Content

Sociology 101: Finding Journal Articles

Principles of Sociology

Using Databases to Find Scholarly Journal Articles

Resources found within databases are generally more acceptable to use for your assignments than material found on the Internet because they come from reputable magazines, newspapers, and journals. Library databases such as Ebsco and JSTOR are used to find peer-reviewed / scholarly journal articles, not available through Internet search engines like Google. 

Scholarly sources are written by experts and scholars working in the field that you are researching. They often go through a "peer-review" process before being published. Check out our Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Magazines page to learn more about the peer-review process and the difference between peer-reviewed journals and popular magazines.

Journal, Magazine, and Newspaper Databases

Try starting with these databases to search for articles in journals, magazines, and newspapers.

Ebsco Collection of Databases - Search from a wide range of research databases for magazine and journal articles. The easiest way to search for journal articles is limit your results to peer-reviewed, academic journal sources, either using in an advanced search, or in the left sidebar of your search results.

JSTOR - Includes only scholarly journal articles covering many disciplines within the Humanities and Social Sciences including: Anthropology, Archaeology, Area Studies, Art & Art History, Asian Studies, Education, Feminist & Women’s Studies,History, Language & Literature, Linguistics, Music, Performing Arts, Philosophy, Political Science, Population Studies, Psychology, Sociology, and Religion.

Database Searching

Database Search Tips

Once you select a database, conduct a search using the keywords you identified for your topic.

  • Use the wildcard character * to truncate the main stem of a word to find different versions: pollut* finds pollution, pollute, polluted 
  • Place quotation marks around words you want to search as a phrase: “air pollution” ; “eating disorders” ; “social media” 
  • Brainstorm for words with similar meanings: youth, adolescents, teens, teenagers, “young adults” 
  • Select full-text, scholarly, academic, or peer-reviewed options, if needed. 
  • Browse your results to see if your keywords retrieved articles that appear related to your topic.  
  • Scan the titles and subjects used in articles you like and revise your search using some of the new words you found.  
  • Look for options to narrow your results. In EBSCO databases, browse the "Refine Results" section on the left.
  • Click on titles that look promising and read the abstract or summary. 
  • When you find an article you want to use, look for tools that will allow you to e-mail, print, save, and copy the citation for the article. In EBSCO, the Tools menu is on the right, in other databases the options may be at the top of the page.

Tip! E-mail articles to yourself along with their citations so you don’t lose them. Remember to check computer-generated citations carefully to be sure they are correct!